Tony Figliola will receive national award for outstanding teaching
Tony Figliola, an English teacher who has built one of the nation’s finest high school forensics programs at Holy Ghost Prep, has been selected by the National Communication Association (NCA) as the 2016 recipient of the Marcella E. Oberle Award for Outstanding Teaching in Grades K-12.
He will receive this prestigious honor during the NCA’s 102nd annual convention which will be held November 10-13 in Philadelphia.
Figliola has excelled as a classroom teacher by emphasizing the importance of communication, including developing the highly successful sophomore-level Communication Skills curriculum—a year-long course with one semester of speaking and one semester of writing.
In addition, Figliola has built Holy Ghost Prep into a high school powerhouse unlike anything the state of Pennsylvania has ever seen. Since taking over the program in the early 1980s, the Firebirds have won 36 consecutive Philadelphia City Speech Championships, 18 Pennsylvania state championships and have produced over 100 individual state champions and 27 individual national champions.
“Through his unique combination of talent and hard work, Tony has built a nationally recognized speech, drama and debate program here at Holy Ghost Prep,” says Gregory J. Geruson’79, Holy Ghost president. “There are but a handful of schools in this country that can rival what Tony has accomplished with our students through the past 30-plus years.”`
As a teacher and a forensics coach, Figliola has impacted countless lives.
“Over the last 30 years, Tony has championing the art of communication. Holy Ghost Prep’s English curriculum is now designed around the importance of the spoken and written word, requiring every student to complete a public speaking course during his sophomore year,” says Ryan Abramson ’94, an English teacher and the director of admissions at Holy Ghost Prep. “The power of this focus is evident in the countless alums who regularly make financial contributions to the speech program—sighting their training in high school as the edge they needed in professional careers ranging from business to medicine to computer science.
“The unquestionable constant in this resume of success is Tony’s commitment to his students. Tony is always the first person to cheer, congratulate and encourage. In return, his students—from 14 years old to 40 count him among the most important influences in their lives.”